Winfield welcomes move from wide receiver to cornerback, leans on athleticism during transition

first_img Published on August 10, 2014 at 2:07 pm Contact Jesse: [email protected] | @dougherty_jesse Facebook Twitter Google+ When Corey Winfield was turning heads as a receiver in high school, he was occasionally tasked with making sure no opposing wideout did, too. If Riverview Gardens (Mo.) High School was facing a notable wide receiver, Winfield would play both ways and line up across from him. When he left for Syracuse after catching nine touchdowns and returning six more in his senior season, it seemed likely that he’d never match up with an opposing playmaker again.Now it’s his newest goal. “I see it as being a receiver on the other side of the ball,” Winfield said of his recent change of positions. “I’m learning from the older guys so I can just jump right in.”After not seeing the field at all as a freshman last year, Winfield was flipped from receiver to cornerback at the start of Syracuse’s 2014 training camp. With a crowded receiving corps that includes Jarrod West, Ashton Broyld and Brisly Estime, among other returnees and a group of talented freshmen, SU head coach Scott Shafer thought Winfield was too athletic to be a “backup to a backup.”AdvertisementThis is placeholder textBeyond senior Brandon Reddish and juniors Julian Whigham and Wayne Morgan, the Orange’s crop of cornerbacks is relatively thin. Winfield is running alongside another group of freshmen — this one consisting of Cordell Hudson, Antwan Cordy and Juwan Dowels — and he could rise fast. “There’s a learning curve there so we just have to get him to play the technique, and learn it and learn what we’re doing from a scheme standpoint,” defensive backs coach Fred Reed said. “But he’s an explosive athlete and I think he has some upside down the road.”Learning curve or not, Reed added that the switch from wide receiver to cornerback may be the most natural between any two positions. That – factored into the coaches’ decision to move Winfield – has added to his excitement since as he plans to use his athleticism to smooth the adjustment period. Winfield’s toolbox includes strength and speed but is highlighted by his leaping ability. He has been dunking a basketball since the seventh grade, used to do backflips before he realized how dangerous they were and his 38-inch vertical is best on the team.“He’s just an athlete and has one of the best verts in the building,” West said. “As soon as you throw a deep ball on Corey he’s just going to turn into a receiver like he was. I’m sure he’ll thrive over there.”“Over there” means going from competing with West and Co. for playing time, to matching up with them. When asked who he was most excited to cover, Winfield got giddy and rattled off a bunch of names. West was one of them, as were Estime and Sean Avant, two of his classmates. Saturday was Winfield’s public debut as a defensive back, as the Orange scrimmaged in front of fans and media as the main attraction of FanFest at SU Soccer Stadium. Winfield said on Friday that learning the position and the Orange’s overall scheme has been his greatest challenge, but his most noticeable blunder had to do with neither of the two. Pressed up on West on the near sideline, Winfield was outmuscled at the line before West burned him for a touchdown stretching more than 50 yards. Terrel Hunt placed the ball right into West’s hands and Winfield trailed by a few steps the whole way. Yet Winfield has time and he’s already boiled the position down to a science his mind and muscles can work with. “When the ball is up there I’m just going to go and get it,” Winfield said. “The other stuff will come.” Commentslast_img read more